Shop assistant stole £41k over three years

A SALES assistant who defrauded Creasey’s of more than £41,000 over a three-year period escaped a prison sentence after he admitted the thefts in the Royal Court.

Royal Court, St James Street. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30406265)
Royal Court, St James Street. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30406265)

Thomas Boatwright-Smith left the island after he was sacked by the department store in late 2019 and arrangements will be made for him to do his sentence of 180 hours of community service in the UK.

The court heard that he was attempting to pay back what was stolen and had so far saved £10,000 to be repaid through his advocate.

Boatwright-Smith, 35, carried out the thefts by issuing refunds to himself electronically for goods that customers had not returned.

He said he had read a local newspaper article about a similar crime and thought he could do it himself.

Boatwright-Smith had been with the company for 18 months before he started the thefts in February 2016. The first was for £41.50. By the time he was caught, he had made false transactions of up to £700 on a single occasion.

In total he committed 70 fraudulent transactions worth £41,731.97 until he was caught in August 2019. A manager noticed numerous duplicate receipts on his work station and an internal investigation was started.

CCTV showed the defendant seemingly photographing or scanning receipts with his phone.

In an interview with HR officers at the company, he initially denied any wrongdoing but then admitted having money troubles.

The company initially thought he had stolen about £27,000, but Boatwright-Smith argued it was more like half that sum. He gave investigators access codes to all his devices and signed access agreements for bank disclosures, which ultimately revealed the true extent of the losses.

Advocate Andrew Ayres, for the defendant, said his client did not lead a lavish lifestyle, but he and his family could barely cover their rent and expenses.

It emerged that Boatwright-Smith had kept copies of all the receipts to calculate if he could cover his outgoings.

Advocate Ayres said that his client had given an unprecedented level of co-operation with the investigation, including a ring binder of bank statements, and had admitted the thefts at the first opportunity.

Lt-Bailiff Russell Finch said the defendant had admitted a single charge of fraud by abuse of position. He had defrauded his employer in order to improve his marital relationship and to appear a successful husband.

Both the probation and the psychology reports noted that he realised his wrongdoing over what Mr Finch called a serious, protracted and shameful abuse of trust, which had required a long investigation.

While the court would always take such matters very seriously, Boatwright-Smith’s co-operation and early guilty plea were very much in his favour and Mr Finch said he considered this to be a ‘rare and exceptional case’.

He was ordered to perform 180 hours of community service as a direct alternative to 12 months in prison, and arrangements would be made for this to be done in the UK, plus a compensation order was made to Creasey’s for the full amount.

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